Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw
31-Year-Old PitcherSP
Los Angeles Dodgers
2019 Fantasy Outlook
For the first time in what seems like forever, Kershaw will not be the first pitcher off the board, likely falling out of the top-five, landing borderline top-10. The reason isn't just injury concern. His skills, particularly strikeouts, are slipping. With respect to health, Kershaw missed a large chunk of time for the third straight season. He's only started 30 games once since 2013, totaling 33 in 2015. His back woes appear to be chronic and will thus be a concern for the rest of his career. Kershaw's K% plummeted to 23.9%, its lowest since 2008, his inaugural campaign. A 1.7-mph drop from his four-seamer is the likely culprit. However, Kershaw's velocity was down consistently all season, with a range from 89.6 mph in July to 91.2 in June, suggesting he can still pitch effectively, though not at an elite level if the velocity doesn't return. There's risk, but Kershaw's control and high-end secondary offerings should keep him among the best when healthy. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a three-year, $93 million contract extension with the Dodgers in November of 2018.
Cruises in vintage performance
PLos Angeles Dodgers
June 18, 2019
Kershaw (7-1) pitched seven scoreless innings against San Francisco on Tuesday to earn the win, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out six.
ANALYSIS
In classic Kershaw fashion, the left hander threw 71 of 100 pitches for strikes and allowed only five hitters to reach base. In doing so, he picked up his 10th quality start in 11 appearances this season and improved his career record against the Giants to 23-11. Despite starting the season on the IL with an injured shoulder, Kershaw has once again posted All Star quality numbers, complementing his 7-1 record with a 2.85 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 73:14 K:BB in 79 innings. He'll have another home start when he faces the Rockies on Sunday.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-11%
BAA vs RHP
2019
 
 
-3%
BAA vs RHP
2018
 
 
-8%
BAA vs RHP
2017
 
 
-18%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .246 348 83 15 81 12 2 14
Since 2017vs Right .218 1265 341 56 260 51 4 36
2019vs Left .250 65 13 5 15 4 0 1
2019vs Right .242 219 54 7 51 9 2 9
2018vs Left .243 143 34 5 33 5 0 6
2018vs Right .223 507 121 24 106 25 2 11
2017vs Left .248 140 36 5 33 3 2 7
2017vs Right .203 539 166 25 103 17 0 16
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-5%
ERA on Road
2019
 
 
-3%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-11%
ERA at Home
2017
 
 
-21%
ERA on Road
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 2.69 0.99 221.0 17 5 0 9.7 1.6 1.2
Since 2017Away 2.55 1.03 187.1 16 5 0 9.0 1.5 1.0
2019Home 3.09 1.09 46.2 5 0 0 8.1 1.0 1.4
2019Away 3.20 1.07 25.1 1 1 0 8.9 2.5 1.1
2018Home 2.58 1.02 83.2 3 3 0 8.8 2.2 1.0
2018Away 2.90 1.07 77.2 6 2 0 8.5 1.0 0.9
2017Home 2.58 0.92 90.2 9 2 0 11.2 1.5 1.4
2017Away 2.03 0.98 84.1 9 2 0 9.5 1.6 1.0
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Stat Review
How does Clayton Kershaw compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 40 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
5.21
 
K/9
8.3
 
BB/9
1.6
 
HR/9
1.1
 
Fastball
90.1 mph
 
ERA
2.85
 
WHIP
1.05
 
BABIP
.283
 
GB/FB
1.84
 
Left On Base
82.6%
 
Exit Velocity
87.5 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
5.9%
 
Spin Rate
2579 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
30.5%
 
Swinging Strike
13.3%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Clayton Kershaw
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
Even Kershaw wasn’t immune from the 2017 home run barrage as he recorded a HR/9 north of 1.0 for the first time, allowing 23 long balls, by far a career high. He also averaged just 6.5 innings per start, his first season below 7.0 since 2012. The lefty also missed over a month due to injury for the third time in the last four seasons. Still, Kershaw remains the top fantasy starting pitcher, though durability likely precludes him from top overall player consideration. He’s as dominant as ever, though his 2017 walk rate (1.5 BB/9) regressed back to career norms after his ultra-stingy 2016 campaign. While it’s tempting to overlook the issue as Kershaw’s health appears fine, back woes often hibernate; they rarely go away. Injury risk puts him atop a tier with fellow aces Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. The days of tossing 230-plus innings are likely over anyway, even if he stays healthy all year.
Despite missing two months with a back injury -- specifically, a herniated disc -- Kershaw finished as the No. 6 pitcher last season in terms of earned 5x5 fantasy value. He was more dominant than ever when on the mound, posting an otherworldly 172:11 K:BB in 149 innings (65:2 K:BB in May). His 15.3 percent swinging-strike rate would have tied Max Scherzer as the best among qualifiers had he logged enough innings to qualify, and Kershaw's command and control reached unprecedented levels as he shaved his walk rate to just two percent. There were no noticeable lingering effects from the back injury upon his return in September (0.86 ERA) and he looked plenty strong into late October as he carried the Dodgers on said back to the NLCS. Entering his age-29 season, Kershaw still looks very much in his prime and remains worthy of a first-round pick, if not top-five overall.
It had been 13 years since we had seen a pitcher strike out 300 or more in a season (Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2002), but Kershaw finished with 301 punchouts en route to winning 16 games with a 2.13 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. After posting sub-2.00 ERA seasons in 2013 and 2014, it's amazing to think some view 2015 as a disappointment for Kershaw, but that's what happens when expectations are sky-high. Kershaw's 11.6 K/9 was easily the best mark of his distinguished career, and as usual his control was excellent with a 1.6 BB/9. It's fair to wonder whether we have seen him peak, but Kershaw is only headed into his age-28 season, so he's firmly in his prime. Like all pitchers, there is always the possibility of a massive drop-off or some sort of arm injury, but few would give any other pitcher the title of "best in the game," making him a sure-fire 2016 first-round pick, particularly given the strikeout ability.
What could Kershaw possibly do to improve upon his three straight ERA and WHIP titles with a pair of Cy Youngs and a second-place finish in between? Surely, he can’t get better, so even though you can expect greatness, it’ll likely be regressed from 2013. Well, not exactly. Left with the seemingly impossible task of one-upping himself, Kershaw somehow did just that and then some, winning titles in the aforementioned categories, including career-bests in each, as well as his third Cy Young and his first NL MVP. And all of that despite missing April and failing to reach the 200-inning mark. At this point, it would be foolish to suggest he can’t possibly best himself yet again. How about a 1.00 ERA? He is the unquestioned best pitcher in the game and a surefire first-rounder regardless of league size and format.
Kershaw took home his second NL Cy Young award in three years, recording the lowest ERA (1.82) since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 mark in the 2000 season. Kershaw also led the league in strikeouts (232) and WHIP (0.92) while tossing a career-high 236 innings. Basically, he's the best pitcher in "real life" and in fantasy. Amazingly, he'll pitch all of 2014 as a 26-year-old, and the 2.0 BB/9 that Kershaw carried last season was actually the best result he's ever returned in that department.
Kershaw finished second in the NL Cy Young voting to R.A. Dickey, but it was another solid season for the left-hander. Kershaw led the league in ERA (2.53) for the second straight season while finishing with 229 strikeouts, second in the league behind Dickey's 230. Kershaw had a 2.10 ERA after the All-Star break, while continuing to average 93 mph with his fastball with excellent control (2.5 BB/9). It's amazing to think that he's only entering his age-25 season, so another Cy Young caliber performance seems likely barring an injury. He should be one of the first three pitchers off all draft boards this spring.
Kershaw was named the National League Cy Young winner after winning the NL's pitching triple crown with 21 wins, a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. The key to his success was a marked improvement in his control, as his BB/9IP trend over the past three years looks like this: 4.8, 3.6 and 2.1. It's pretty much impossible for Kershaw to markedly improve upon his 2011 season, but considering he's just 24, he should be very good for the next several years.
Kershaw took a big step towards ace status in 2010, finishing as one of only four NL starters with at least 200 strikeouts (212) and an ERA under 3.00 (2.91). A big key to his success was in dropping his walk rate from 4.8 BB/9IP in 2009 to 3.6 last year (and 3.0 after the All-Star break). Kershaw will look to build on that in 2011 as a 23-year-old with 483 big league innings already under his belt. The sky is certainly the limit.
Kershaw played all of 2009 as a 21-year-old in his first full season, and the results were impressive, even though the 8-8 win-loss record was not. Among National League pitchers, Kershaw's 2.79 ERA ranked fifth and his 185 strikeouts were 11th. The big problem? His 93 walks ranked third. Seemingly the only thing preventing the former seventh overall pick from annual NL Cy Young contention is that wavering command, and encouragingly, Kershaw made some adjustments in the season's second half that resulted in a 4.0 BB/9IP rate versus a 5.3 mark before the All-Star break. He's already a top-30 fantasy pitcher, with the potential for far more as early as 2010.
Kershaw acquitted himself well in his first taste of major league action, going 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA and 100:52 K:BB in 107.2 innings for the Dodgers. Kershaw's command wavered from time to time, though he finished with a 60:24 K:BB in his final two months after starting with a 40:28 mark. He will be counted on as the team's No. 5 starter and could approach 200 strikeouts once given 180 innings of work (to limit the strain on his golden arm). Kershaw is projected as a true ace, though that day may not come for a couple years.
Kershaw skipped High-A ball this year, jumping straight to Double-A in August at the ripe old age of 19. It was Kershaw's first full season as a professional after being drafted seventh overall out of high school in 2006. Between Low-A and Double-A, Kershaw had a 2.95 ERA and 163:67 K:BB in 122 innings. He'll return to Double-A to open 2008, but if Kershaw can improve his overall command and show improvement in his changeup, he could be a huge factor for the Dodgers down the stretch in 2008. He's probably baseball's top pitching prospect yet to debut in the big leagues.
The team's No. 1 pick (seventh overall) in the 2006 draft, Kershaw, despite his youth, is already one of baseball's top pitching prospects. Unlike other young Dodger pitchers, the control bug has yet to bite the young left-hander. In 37 innings for the GCL Dodgers, Kershaw posted an impressive 54:5 K:BB ratio featuring a fastball that already touches 96 mph, a plus curve and an advanced change. He'll make his full-season debut in 2007 (likely for the organization's new affiliate in the Low-A Midwest League), and while he won't be major league ready until sometime in 2009, long-term keeper leaguers should have Kershaw on their radars.
More Fantasy News
Settles down to earn sixth win
PLos Angeles Dodgers
June 13, 2019
Kershaw (6-1) took the win versus the Cubs on Thursday, pitching six innings and allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight.
ANALYSIS
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Takes hard-luck loss
PLos Angeles Dodgers
June 7, 2019
Kershaw (5-1) took the loss Friday versus the Giants, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out four batters.
ANALYSIS
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Strong in no-decision
PLos Angeles Dodgers
June 1, 2019
Kershaw allowed one run on six hits while striking out six over seven innings in a no-decision against the Phillies on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
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Picks up fifth win
PLos Angeles Dodgers
May 27, 2019
Kershaw (5-0) picked up the win against the Mets on Monday, giving up three earned runs on 10 hits over six innings, striking out five and walking one as the Dodgers bagged a 9-5 victory.
ANALYSIS
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Moves to 4-0
PLos Angeles Dodgers
May 21, 2019
Kershaw (4-0) picked up the win against the Rays on Tuesday, giving up six hits and two earned runs over 6.1 innings, striking out eight and walking one as the Dodgers bagged a 7-3 victory.
ANALYSIS
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